World News: ABC News
A gold nugget with an estimated value of more than $300,000 has been unearthed near Ballarat in Victoria's west.
An amateur prospector found the nugget weighing 177 ounces, or 5.5 kilograms, with a metal detector just outside Ballarat in a popular area for prospecting.
The owner of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop in Ballarat, Cordell Kent, said the find was one of the most significant in his 20 years in the business.
"Over that period the sum total of my finds would be just over 100 ounces (2.8 kilograms)," he said.
"We have 800 prospectors on our books and only a couple of those have ever found a nugget over 100 ounces.
"So there's only been one or two big pieces and they were found a long time ago."
Mr Kent is seeking a buyer for the nugget on behalf of the lucky prospector, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Both expect the nugget to fetch more than $300,000.
With President Obama having kicked off debt ceiling negotiations by vowing not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, a new option for paying off the nation’s considerable tab is gaining momentum with cheeky fiscal and monetary wonks.
It goes like this: Should Congress fail to extend the U.S. debt limit — reached again on Dec. 31 — the president could ask the Treasury to begin printing trillion dollar coins (in a process explained mostly seriously by Jim Pethokoukis on his American Enterprise Institute blog), a number of which could then be put toward fulfilling debt obligations in the event new legislation stalls in Congress.
While there are laws in place to regulate how much paper, gold, silver or copper currency can be circulated by the government, there is nothing so clearly stated when it comes to platinum. That door open, the Treasury could have the U.S. Mint melt and mold a few trillion dollars of it, then ship the goods over to the Federal Reserve for safekeeping until the time comes to pay the bills.
The more difficult part comes sometime after the decision is made to coin the platinum and before the Mint gets to work in sculpting the pieces.
At that point, the American people must decide whose face will adorn the trillion dollar trinket. The process to determine the “specs” of the coin, U.S. Mint Public Affairs Specialist Genevieve Billia warns, must be “determined by legislation,” creating the potential for another congressional impasse.
Utah is First State to Recognize Gold and Silver as Legal Tender; Inflation Worries Loom
Starting in May, Utah residents will be able to shop in a currency other than the dollar -- gold, something that hasn't happened since 1933.
Utah became the first U.S. state last month to recognize gold and silver coins minted by the federal government as legal tender. More than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, and are expected to follow Utah's example. The move, proponents say, is caused by declining faith in the U.S. monetary system and concern about rising inflation.